Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Merkelwürdiges Gefühl im Kopf

"Das Internet ist für uns alle Neuland". Photo by Armin
Kübelbeck, via Konrad Werner.

Jon Queally at CommonDreams passing on some Greenwaldian goose bumps which may turn out to be a little more excited than the occasion calls for:
Perhaps one of the most striking and revelatory aspects about the latest NSA surveillance news story, this one published Sunday by The Bild am Sonntag newspaper in Germany, was that it was not based on leaked documents from the now famous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
What the paper reported, based on information provided by a "high-ranking NSA employee in Germany," was that the U.S. spy agency—after being outed [jump]
for spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel—responded to an order to refrain from spying directly on Merkel's phone by intensifying its monitoring of other high-level officals her government.
...as journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out in his Monday column, the fact that the revelations are based on a "high-ranking NSA employee in Germany" means that whoever spoke to the paper "is yet another NSA source to come forward to disclose the agency’s once-secret acts."
Not quite: oddly enough (and it really is odd, because I'm not exactly following this story in the German papers), I'm in a position to recognize that source as going back to four months ago, because I wrote about it here at the time: the self-identified NSA operative who told Bild am Sonntag in a story of October 27 that President Obama was lying when he said he was unaware of the NSA's eavesdropping on Chancellor Merkel, since NSA chief Alexander had told him about it in 2010. I felt able to dismiss the story at the time because it was so implausible that one person could know all the things this person claimed to know and because it had appeared in the the worst newspaper in Germany (and been promptly picked up by the Telegraph and Fox, not respectable though furiously anti-Obama outlets like Spiegel or the Guardian). The informant for this new story is plainly the same person, still selling his story to the abominable Bild am Sonntag; Greenwald is quite wrong in calling him or her "yet another", and I expect this story can be ignored as well. There remains no actual evidence, as I said back in November, that the NSA ever listened to Merkel's phone calls (as opposed to having her number, which they clearly did), let alone that they are taking drastic measures to compensate for not being able to do it any more.

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